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Trapped in a tech career box

Bob Lewis | April 12, 2010
Tied to J2EE? Ruby? .Net? Without diversification, you could force yourself into difficult job choices down the line.

Dear Bob ...

I like what I do (sofware development) but do not like the environment I work in. I have been passed over when it comes to new projects or significant enhancements on an existing project.

The management style has been what I describe as "laissez-faire" where developers on a project grab whatever work they want. I'm not exactly comfortable with this and have always felt that management should be assigning work, not the other way around. The office I work at has gradually hired people of a particular nationality. My boss is of that nationality and has been assigning work on new projects and significant enhancements to coworkers who are also of that nationality. I am also not a favourite son and don't like to brown-nose (it's just not in my nature).

To matters worse, the company I work for has been gradually converting over to a Microsoft-only shop. It was previously a mix of Java and Microsoft technologies (C++, .Net). I love working with Java technologies and really do not want to convert over to a Microsoft technology.

Additionally, the application I am working on (written in Java and JSF) is being moved to another office. All of the other developers working on the application have been moved to other new projects leaving me behind to hand-hold the people at the other office until they can take over completely. I was told that I could work on another project (based on .Net) when the transition is complete.

The other office is in another state. I was joking with a supervisor in that office that I would love to move there. He asked if I was serious and felt that I would be a valuable addition. I told him I was and already have several relatives living there.

This whole thing later snowballed. The VPs in my office and my boss' supervisor caught rumour of my interest to transfer there and all said that I had a green to make the transfer, in a J2EE role that would later turn into a .Net role.

Here is the rub. The timing of all this is a little off. My daughter is a junior in high school. and I do not want to pull her out of her current school. I also do not want to move and be disconnected from my family for about one and a half years (I think I could handle six months). It's too bad this all did not happen next year when my daughter is a senior and soon to be in college and I am no longer tied down to my current location.


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